Artificial intelligence (AI) certainly enjoyed its big-splash moment at the end of 2022. When the OpenAI company publicly launched DALL-E 2 art generator and its chatbot ChatGPT, it was the eureka moment when much of the world sat up, took notice, and began to imagine a different future. Many pundits were amazed by the promise of AI and the advancements it may generate for business and society. Others sounded alarm bells about AI misuse and misapplication.
Our experts in Digital and Issues & Crisis Management teams analyzed the conversations to summarize the insights that have the most potential impact on marketing and reputation.
The Promise — by Alfredo Bernal and Patrick Chan
- As AI models become more decentralized and cheaper to train, it will democratize the access and adoption of these models away from the few big tech firms with deep pockets. This should lead to greater innovation for business, and raise opportunities for marketers and communicators.
- AI will have a global economic impact that will increase labor productivity in a way we have not seen in developed countries. This, too, should create innovation and opportunity. AI will provide the ability to bring ideas to life quicker allowing marketers to adjust to market conditions faster.
- Future deliverables and creative direction is likely to be more efficient, since AI is starting to be woven into existing workflows to remove some of the mundane tasks. Look for more cutting-edge creative, soon.
- In more than two-thirds of use cases across sectors, artificial intelligence is likely to improve performance beyond traditional analytical techniques. AI will help marketers spot trends and effectiveness of a campaign in real time. It will also assist in providing clients quicker mockups and ideations of creative material. AI has tremendous promise in enhancing the overall customer experience and customer interaction by using data for competitive marketing pricing or sales and promotion tactics.
The Perils — by J.D.
Science fiction often depicts the unseen downsides of human advancement. Victor Frankenstein creates The Monster. Nukes bring us Godzilla. HAL 9000 kills astronauts to save its mission. Robots become Terminators. J.A.R.V.I.S. is consumed by Ultron (spoiler: not fully).
The science of AI is very real and its adoption seems to be growing exponentially, which is scaring the H.G. Wells out of many of us—the past few weeks have inspired mountains of opinions and studies on AI risks. If you work in communications and reputation-management, here’s a summary of the main risks:
- The spread of “informed b.s.” and its effects on society. There is a growing body of thought that believes where AI excels the most is in trying to convince humans about its conclusions, even when those conclusions are wrong. These persuasions—if pushed through AI-generated news or social media bots—can be especially dangerous at this moment in time if flawed conclusions begin to feed those with polarized thoughts or contribute to eroding decency in society.
- We’re also seeing AI adoption in search engines, where results of complex queries are reduced to a handful of bullet-points. This reinforces the need for credible and repeatable headlines in any crisis response, to help ensure balance in the digital legacy of a company’s management of any crisis.
- Bias and discrimination. To date, AI programs have not been shining models of equity and inclusion. The reason is unclear. Some believe that programmers’ biases seep into the algorithms. Others conclude that AI is drinking from digital rivers of information that are tainted with discrimination. Either way, if these programs are adopted to aid more decisions in the financial, military, governance or other important fields, it will be important to scrutinize the results.
- Where are the guardrails? It seems that governance and regulations are coming, but it is unclear at what speed and scope. Therefore, it’s up to organizations and counselors to scrutinize the algorithms and apply AI-solutions ethically, judiciously, and with a strong amount of oversight. Some wise organizations have already established ethics committees and posted their ethical priorities over AI and machine-learning, including proper oversight, governance, privacy parameters, and more.
- Of course, AI bots can also be used to spread disinformation and the hope is that some form of governance will continue to help thwart these efforts. In the meantime, companies should have strong monitoring capabilities in place to address the spread of misinformation.
For more information, or if you want to discuss the responsible future of AI, please contact PatrickC@mbooth.com or JamesD@mbooth.com.